Slurp and Savour: The Best Ramen in London
The popularity of ramen in London has continued to grow into 2019, with ramen restaurants in the capital popping up left, right and centre. But with such a surge, it’s sometime hard to find what type of ramen you’re looking for.
We’re here to help, passionately on a valiant quest to find the very best ramen London has to offer. I guess you could say that we’re hopeless ramen-tics here at Quisine. Follow our list of the best ramen in London for 2019 and you’ll be slurping your way through a steaming bowl of noodles in no time.
Oodles of noodles
If we could eat ramen every day until the day we die, we probably would. This nourishing Japanese dish is always bursting with flavour and texture – whether it’s from the Chinese-style wheat noodles, chashu pork belly, perfectly boiled eggs, dried seaweed, preserved bamboo shoots or sesame seed garnishing.
The most important aspect of ramen is the flavoursome, often rich broth. The four classics are shoyu (soy sauce), shio (salt), miso (fermented soybean paste) and tonkotsu (pork bones).
However, many styles have grown from these four foundational varieties. To learn more about regional ramens, you can check out this Michelin Guide article.
Our list aims to provide insight into the different types of broth found in Japan, and direct you to the best place to sample each variety in London.
The Best Ramen in London for 2019
Go for shoyu ramen (soy sauce broth)
You’ll find authentic Japanese dishes made with love and care at Kitcho in Greenwich. But what’s more, you’ll find ramen that is absolutely out of this world. You have twelve different kinds of ramen to choose from, but our personal favourite are those made with a shoyu broth.
Shoyu broth is made with soy sauce and is usually clear, dark coloured and sweeter than other broths. They also do several ramens with gyoza dumplings in the broth, similar to wonton soup, which is a tad unique.
Ramen from £7.50 to £9.80
57 Greenwich High Road, Greenwich, London SE10 8LP
Go for shio ramen (salt flavoured broth)
Tonkotsu are taking London by storm with 10 branches throughout the city. They’re all about serving contemporary ramen to a modern and intrigued cliente, yet traditional preparation techniques are still followed.
Tonkotsu serve six types of ramen, but we suggest you try the seafood ramen or the chilli chicken ramen because they have shio-style broths, light in taste and colour and flavoured with sea salt.
Ramen from £10 to £12.95
Go for tonkotsu ramen (rich pork bone broth)
If you’re on the hunt for tonkotsu ramen, a rich and thick broth made from boiling pork bones for 12 hours, we recommend visiting Shoryu. These guys know their stuff, this thanks to an owner who hails from Fukuoka in Kyushu, Japan’s most southern island, the birthplace of tonkotsu ramen.
Shoryu offer seven versions of tonkotsu, also commonly called Hakata-style ramen (Hakata is a district within Fukuoka City). Now with 9 restaurants around London, this chain is popular and an added bonus is they also serve Japanese street food and sake cocktails.
Ramen from £10 to £14.50
Koi Ramen Bar
Go for miso ramen (fermented soybean paste broth)
What started out as a pop-up has expanded into the ever-popular Koi Ramen Bar, now with two open venues in Brixton and Tooting Market. These guys specialise in tonkotsu ramen – but then again, it seems every ramen bar in London specialise in it.
So, we instead suggest you try their miso ramen. This variety originally comes from Sapporo, Hokkaido’s biggest city, and has an added complexity that make this ramen soup distinct (both in flavour and its opaque colour). Koi Ramen offer miso ramen with tofu or pork.
Ramen from £6.50+
Go for karaka tantan ramen (Sichuan-style broth)
Ippudo is a ramen chain taking the world by storm and Londoners couldn’t be happier they’ve reached UK shores. With three locations throughout the city, Ippudo has firmly cemented itself amongst the best ramen in London. They offer between four to six ramen types (depending on which venue) and they’re all expertly crafted.
We recommend their Karaka-Men – my personal favourite ramen of all time. A rich tonkotsu broth is flavour enhanced even further with spicy miso paste and topped with pork belly, chilli oil and sansho pepper (similar to Sichuan peppercorns).
Ramen from £11 to £18
Go for shoyu ramen with tempura toppings
C&R Izakaya has been awarded a coveted spot on this list of the best ramen in London because one of their options includes a ramen made with freshly fried tempura.
Crispy prawn or vegetable tempura in a steaming, fragrant soup? It really doesn’t get much better than that! It’s not particularly traditional to have it with ramen, as tempura with soup is usually reserved for udon noodle dishes, but we’ll gladly still eat it.
Ramen from £9.90 to £12.80
52 Westbourne Grove, Bayswater, London W2 5SH
Go for chicken-based broth ramen
Kanada-Ya, now with three branches throughout London, also specialise in tonkotsu ramen. Yet they’re slightly different in that they use chicken bones in half of their ramen broths. This combination of pork and chicken is common in Japan, yet you don’t see it as much on London menus. Perhaps it’s because of our obsession with the rich and pure Hakata-style ramen.
Visit Kanada-Ya and order the likes of spicy yuzu ramen – pork and corn fed chicken broth, chashu pork collar, seaweed, spicy yuzu paste, spring onion, wood ear fungus, yuzu-shoyu.
Ramen from £9 to £14
Go for vegan ramen (mushroom broth)
Acclaimed chef Ross Shonhan is behind the Japanese-inspired Bone Daddies empire, now with six ramen bars and three restaurants across London. The concept behind all is simple – create memorable, creative and flavoursome food.
Bone Daddies ramen menu includes dishes like soft crab with pork tonkotsu broth and kimchi seafood with chicken bone broth. Yet we especially like them because of their consideration for vegans and vegetarians, offering three types of ramen with mushroom broth. There’s tofu curry with padron peppers and cabbage, mushroom and asparagus, or tantan-men chilli with bok choy and sesame.
Ramen from £10.80 to £14.60
Go for fusion ramen
This Brixton restaurant is celebrating fusion cuisine by merging the best of Japanese cuisine with international flavours. Nanban proudly serve Japanese “soul food” and that includes eight types of fusion ramen.
The broths are mostly authentic and made from ingredients like pork, chicken, soy sauce or dashi seasoning. But the toppings are where things get truly creative! The Japanese would surely be horrified knowing parmesan was being included. We recommend their signature ramen, the Lazy Goat Ragú-Men – goat leg and noodles in a spicy curry sauce, with toppings of seafood sawdust, fried shallots, Scotch-pickled bamboo shoots and tea-pickled egg.
Ramen from £12 to £16
426 Coldharbour Lane, Brixton, London SW9 8LF
Go for duck ramen (not traditional, but damn delicious)
While Coba is in fact a Vietnamese and Australian fusion restaurant, it deserves a shout out on the ramen front. The duck ramen at Coba London offers contrasting textures with some of the most delicious flavours that you’ll ever have in your mouth at any given time. This is one taste explosion that you need to experience immediately!
Duck ramen is £11.50